Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Garden

I am one who loves safe places. I look for them in relationships, in physical spaces, even in my own brain. Since living in Kolkata, i think the desire for a safe, and beyond safe, a beautiful place has been even stronger within my heart. When i returned to kolkata more than 3 years ago, i dreamt of a garden. The garden was the symbol of the that safe beautiful place where i could find rest and safety in the midst of turmoil. My thought was the the garden would be not only be a physical space (my home) but an emotional, spiritual and mental space as well. There have been many days and even many months where it was hard to find the garden, to find the safe place where beauty dwells. But there have been divine moments of safety and rest and many have happen over meals of celebration in my home with dear friends. Many moments in the arms of friends and sisters at sari bari and many, many moments alone in the crowd, on the street, in the metro station where Jesus has met me and given me a moment in the garden. Tonight after a shared meal, intimate words and deep mutual understanding, i feel like i have been in the garden.

Maybe i should define the garden as i see it. The garden is "THE GARDEN" or eden. It is the place that God created for His Humanity at creation, it was a safe place of intimacy with Him. It was a place where humanity did not yet know sin and the beauty of God's creation was not yet flawed with turmoil and destruction. I know that God did not create us to live in a world of sin and brokenness. he created us for the garden, for initmacy with Him. the problem came with the choice and humanity chose the knowledge of good and evil, a knowledge God knew would be devastating to us both physically and emotionally and most certainly spiritual in our ability to have intimate relationship with Him. The beauty of the completed story is that God was still compelled have intimacy with us even after we had been cast out of the garden. He made a radical sacrifice so that we could have intimacy once again without sacrifice. A final sacrifice was made and intimacy was restored...and truly by the spirit, the garden was restored to us in relationship. So i can have moments in the garden with my Father even in the midst of chaos and destruction and suffering He meets with me. And cherish the moments in those safe places, in those relationships, in those physical spaces, in that place in my heart where He dwells eternal...because i know moments in the garden with the creator is what i was created for...

Thankful today for moments with Joe who offers me the embrace of the master. For moments with Beth who is my mirror and my heart friend. For moments with Jenny who makes me smile and for moments with Melinda who I long to know well. For moments with Daphne...because in even a few short sentences i feel known and loved. For moments with Micah who suffers yet who still upholds me. For moments in the metro where old ladies smile and giggle and try to converse in the one language you do not know. Looking forward to the surprise moments of intimacy with my creator that tomorrow may bring.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thoughts on my favorite Mr. Anderson

I have voted for Brent Anderson for President in more than one presidential election over the past 10 years that I have known Him. He really may be the only truly qualified person for the job. He is a thoughtful, compassionate servant, a heroic man of strength and integrity. He would not lead as others have led but I am confident he would lead better, with more integrity, more creativity and more dry humor than most.

His blog may be my favorite reading of all must go there to understand! He is a story teller, an economist, a theologian, an understated comic, and truly a profound thought leader!

The highlight reel...

Breakfast food at the Leavenworth Cafe
First to arrive, first to leave
Staff Retreat 2002
Driving to Waffle house after a Kentucky blizzard in Ben Oldhams old truck
Breakfast at Waffle house in Kentucky
Andrea Bocelli
The smell of tide
Best hugs in the Omaha office
Being Brent's thrift store stylist
Hello! (when brent answers the phone)
Patient, gracious kindness when I am late doing something again.
Good Debriefer
Being able to call Brent a friend

Brent is leaving Word Made Flesh but will remain at its heart. He taught us the meaning of serving with love. I feel like my right thumb is being cut off and I am wondering how will I use my right hand...opposable digits are essential. You will be dearly missed my friend.

transformed anger

here is a gem of deep wisdom that continues to find its truth in my everyday life. When you are angry allow your anger to become sadness. In sadness, we can name the why's and because's of our feelings. Anger corrupts the why's and blinds us from being able to see quite clearly. Anger in so many cases is good, because it can protect, let you know of an injustice, give clear sight to know your heart if you let it become sadness...letting it go is apart of anger being okay. there is nothing that says do not be angry...just wisdom that speaks to heart that reminds us to not hold it for longer than a day. So when i let my anger become sadness, i can name my feelings. I am sad because i was not treated with dignity. I am sad because people i love are being hurt. I am sad because the losses around me scare me. I am sad because i feel out of control. i am sad because i do not feel valued and cared for the way i want to be cared for...and so on and so. anger becomes something in sadness that allows us to heal, to forgive, to be softened and freed by understanding, what in fact, is really wrong. and what is really wrong might be about me and it might be able someone else but either way, the end result is being free to let go at the end of the day and say father forgive us our trepasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

incarnational love

We can not define the measure of our losses. They are too great, to deep to speak. some losses we choose in our brokenness and some are inflicted...great treasures, great people taken.

in loss, I feel that to hold one who is grieving is all that holding a mother whose son feels lost to her in the brokeness of His body. tight without letting go. Holding my dear "ma" as the depth of her pain still surfaces with rawness at the loss of her dear lover and partner. Holding a man I care about in my heart in his own sadness and loss because i can not hold him in brings relief but not much really. we can not define the measure of our losses. they are too great to be understood...there is only the offering of presence that makes sense, embrace.

That is and was the incarnation. presence to us. presence for us. in our losses, for our losses, because of our losses. The only thing that makes sense to me everyday is "emmanuel", a God who is with us. i say it over and over. emmanuel. what the world needs, what i need is incarnation, someone to hold me. to be held, to be redeemed and have losses that should have been mine taken on by emmanuel, comforts. the pain of our losses, chosen and inflicted, taken, made into nonsense in the face of incarnational love, something new comes from our emmanuel. HOPE. incarnational love, an embrace, i am not alone, i am with you, you are with me, we are not alone.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Bright Field

There is no perfection in reunion...there is sweetness and sadness and beauty. Because reunion is full of the rawness of the seperation and the sadness for the losses not experienced together and knowing that something has been lost that keeps reunion from being perfect in its appearance. I was welcomed back into the arms of my dear friends at Sari Bari today...lined up to hug and embrace. I began to cry and one of the ladies asked why i would cry when being together was a good thing. I said I was crying because I was happy but more deeply I was sad as I looked into the eyes of some of my friends and thought of the losses that they have experienced in the last three months. I felt myself living their pain in that moment with them, delayed because of my absence. In these last months my life here in kolkata has been far from me in many ways but these women, these beautiful powerful transformed images of our creator God have been deeply held in my heart. it was their faces, their voices, their stories that called to me as i met with churches and friends and even in my family celebrations, they were with me. the reunion today reminded me just how much apart of me these women are, in leaving i left apart of myself behind with them, in returning i have been given back fullness plus so much more. I was reminded today that kolkata is a "perfect place". not because kolkata is a nice place or an easy place but the "perfect place", it is my bright field, my pearl of great price, it is worth all that i have and all that i am. it is "perfect" because it is the place that my dear jesus has called me His beloved amoung women I know are His most treasured daughters. To be at their side is a great honor. to love them till it hurts is my great priveledge. To be reunited, held not perfection, only the realness of our heart ties to one another....bound,linked,held...celebrating our life together, what has been and what will be.

My friend Julian has read this poem for me a couple of times now. It speaks of what I have prayer is that I will not lose sight of it again.

The Bright Field
by R. S. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receeding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Warming up to write again soon...

For now just a good quote:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. Thee's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we're liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

Marianne Williamson, quoted by Nelson Mandela